Home South African DA urges Ramaphosa to speed up delivery of Covid-19 vaccine

DA urges Ramaphosa to speed up delivery of Covid-19 vaccine

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that the vaccine will only be available in July.

File image: Reuters/Dado Ruvic

THE DA has urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to expedite bi-laternal negotiations with approved Covid-19 vaccine suppliers to deliver the doses much earlier than the second quarter in July.

The DA’s call came as Ramaphosa has already announced that the vaccine will only be available in July saying the Solidarity Fund had already made a prepayment of more than R283 million towards the acquisition of the vaccine.

DA leader John Steenhuisen said the time has come for South Africa’s government to “put the people first” and to urgently secure a bi-lateral deal to expedite the arrival of the vaccine to our shores.

“Waiting for the second quarter next year is not good enough, and even then, the number of initial vaccines on offer will only cover 10% of the population.

“Other nations have been able to do this. Why can’t we? The nation of Colombia, a country with almost identical socio-economic circumstances as South Africa has managed to immediately source a Covid-19 vaccine and has secured 9 million doses,” Steenhuisen said.

Detailing his party’s six-point plan to acquire the vaccine, Steenhuisen urged:

* That government urgently begins bi-lateral negotiations, as many other countries have done, with approved vaccine suppliers in order to gain expedited access to a vaccine for South Africans. If only to secure enough, at this stage, for front-line health care workers, teachers and front-line responders, and the most vulnerable members of society, including older persons;

* That the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority is able to complete their required vaccine approval as efficiently as possible;

* That government determines, in detail, how many doses of the vaccine are necessary to inoculate the entire population and make the necessary financial provisions for this procurement. According to our estimates, at $10,22 per vaccine, it would cost R9.5 billion to cover 50% of the population. Thus, National Treasury must urgently re-appropriate approximately R20 billion to ensure that the entire nation can be vaccinated against Covid-19;

* That government provide a definite timeline in relation to the COVAX participation, the date the vaccines will be here, how many doses will be arriving and how they are to be allocated;

* That government begin this week to develop a roll-out strategy to, as quickly as possible administer the vaccine to citizens who require it, and identify which facilities will be used to store and administer the vaccine; and

* Ensure that the procurement of syringes, needles, swabs, fridges, and other associated ancillary requirements for the administering of the vaccine is undertaken. The steps taken in this regard must be shared with the National Assembly to ensure sufficient oversight and accountability; and end the corruption witnessed in the first round of PPE procurement.

Political Bureau